The Lace Monitor
, or Lace Goanna, Varanus varius
, is a member of the monitor lizard
family, Australian members of which are commonly known as goannas
Lace Monitors, are also known as Lace Goannas in Australia
and are the second-largest monitor in Australia after the Perentie
. These common terrestrial and often facultatively
arboreal monitors are found in eastern Australia and range from Cape Bedford
on Cape York Peninsula
to south-eastern South Australia
. They frequent both open and closed forests and forage over long distances (up to 3 km a day).
They are mainly active from September to May, but are inactive in cooler weather and shelter in a tree hollow or under a fallen tree or large rock.
The females lay from 4 to 14 eggs in spring or summer in termite nests. They frequently attack the large composting
nests of Scrub Turkeys
to steal their eggs, and often show injuries on their tails inflicted by male Scrub Turkeys pecking at them to drive them away.
The tail is long and slender and about 1.5 times the length of the head and body.
They grow to over 2 metres in total length. Their patterning consists of white spots, blotches or bands on their body. Their distribution is chiefly coastal. Their diet typically consists of insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds and birds' eggs.
In late 2005, University of Melbourne
researchers discovered that perenties
and other monitors are venomous
. Previously, it had been thought that bites inflicted by these lizards were simply prone to infection because of bacteria in the lizards' mouths
Like all Australian goannas, they were a favorite traditional food of Australian Aboriginal
peoples and their fat was particularly valued as a medicine and for use in ceremonies